In your memorandum you attached a copy of Ga. Code Ann. § 74-413 which describes the
effect of an adoption decree. You have concluded that effective January 1, 1978, a
decree of adoption limits the adopted child to inheriting only from his adoptive parents.
This office concurs with your interpretation of Ga. Code Ann. § 74-413 that effective
January 1, 1978, Georgia law generally limits an adopted child to inheriting from
his adoptive parents and their relatives. Johnson, et al. v. Parrish, et al., 284 S.2d 111 (1981). However, there is one exception to the effect of an
adoption decree on an adopted child's inheritance rights and this exception is set
out in Ga. Code Ann. § 74-413(b). According to Ga. Code Ann. § 74-413(b), an adopted
child can inherit from his deceased natural parent if that parent had not terminated
his parental rights prior to his death.
Therefore, it is the opinion of this office that effective January 1, 1978 and subsequent
thereto an adopted child in Georgia is limited to inheriting only from his adoptive
parents and their relatives unless the adopted child's natural parent did not terminate
his or her parental rights prior to the death of that natural parent. Accordingly,
this office concurs that CM 2434.9 or its POMS counterpart should be corrected to
reflect the effect of Ga. Code Ann. § 74-413.